The Governor of Reserve Bank of India, Shaktikanta Das, recently announced that the central bank will set up a 24*7 helpline platform in order to strengthen the digital payment services in India. This announcement was made through the Statement on Development and Regulatory policy.
RBI has come up with many safety and security features apart from the measures to redress the grievances of the users in the past as well.
This announcement will further enhance the digital payments experience of users in India.
The RBI released the Payment Systems Vision document.
The document highlights the need of setting up a 24×7 helpline in order to address the customer queries with respect to the digital payment products.
As per the guideline, major payment system operators are required to facilitate setting-up of a centralised 24×7 helpline to address the customer queries by September 2021.
Apart from this helpline facility, guidelines will also be issued on the outsourcing for the Operators and Participants of Authorised Payment Systems.
Further, RBI also announced to launch an Integrated Ombudsman Scheme for banks, NBFCs and digital transactions in June 2021.
The scheme will be launched in order to simplify the grievance redressal process.
Significance of the helpline
The helpline will help in building the trust and confidence among the users. It will also help in reducing the expenditure on both financial and human resources that are incurred while addressing the queries and grievances.
What was the need?
The digital payment in India is growing rapidly. A report states that, the Indian digital payment industry will reach to $1 trillion by 2023. The digital payment mode is further found the boost amid the covid-19 pandemic. But with the increasing trend of digital transaction, India is getting vulnerable to transaction fraud, cyberattacks etc. Thus, there is a need of such helpline to make the digital transaction environment secure for the users.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has recently decided to set up an expert committee on Urban Co-operative Banks (UCBs).
The committee would involve all the stakeholders so as to provide a medium-term road map.
The medium-term roadmap in turn will help to strengthen the sector.
It will also enable the faster rehabilitation or resolution of UCBs.
The committee will also examine other critical aspects related to these entities.
The committee is being set in accordance with the provisions of the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Act, 2020. The act became applicable to the Primary or the Urban Co-operative Banks (UCBs) from June 26, 2020.
The amendments in the act have brought the equal regulatory and supervisory powers between UCBs and commercial banks.
What are Co-operative Banks?
Co-operative Banks were established on the line of the co-operative credit societies. In such banks, community group provide loans to each other. These banks are different than the commercial banks. The Co-operative Banks further classified into Urban and Rural co-operative banks on the basis of the region in which they are operating.
What are Commercial Banks?
The financial institution which accepts deposits from the general public and give loans to them with the objective of earning profit are called as the commercial banks.
How UCBs and Commercial Banks are different?
The UCBs are partly regulated by the reserve bank of India unlike the commercial banks. The banking operations of the UCBs are though regulated by the RBI to keep a check on their capital adequacy, risk control and the lending norms. But the management & dispute resolution mechanism is regulated by the Registrar of Co-operative Societies. The registrar can regulate it either under the State or Central government. Further, in the commercial bank the shareholders and its borrowers can be clearly differentiated as opposed to the cases of UCBs.
The Monetary Policy Committee of the central bank recently held its meeting on February 3 to February 5, 2021 to discuss the current macroeconomic financial developments in India.
Key Decisions by the committee
The committee has decided to keep the repo rate unchanged at the 4 percent.
It has decided to continue its accommodative stance in accordance with the necessities in the current financial year.
The accommodative stance will continue into the next financial year as well so as to revive the growth and to keep inflation within the set target.
Marginal standing facility rate is also unchanged at 4.25%.
The committee has also kept the bank rate unchanged at 4.25 percent.
The reverse repo rate is also same at 3.35 percent as earlier.
The committee highlights that, the Inflation in last two months was better than expected. Inflation has come down to the Upper tolerance level of 6 percent for the first time since covid-19 pandemic breakdown.
Committee also highlights that, factors that could change the food inflation trajectory include the Good Rabi Crop, Huge Kharif harvest, huge winter supplies of vegetables and soft poultry demand.
The committee has projected the real GDP growth at 10.5 percent in 2021-22.
Is economy recovering?
The Governor of the reserve Bank of India noted that there are signs of recovery. These signs have strengthened since the last meeting of the MPC. He highlighted,
There is improvement in the capacity utilisation of the manufacturing sector to 63.3 percent.
He confidence of the consumer is also reviving.
The business expectations in the manufacturing, services and infrastructure sectors are also strengthening.
Domestic trading activities is growing along with the movement of goods and people.
In the line, COVID-19 vaccination drive will further boost the restoration of the other contact intensive sectors which in turn will help in reviving the economy.
The central government has recently given the approval for 26 more green zone site for drones.
The approval was given in the light of facilitating the operations by No-Permission-No-Take-off (NPNT) compliant drones.
The approval was given by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Defence.
The ministry has also given its nod for six green zone sites earlier.
This order was issued by Amber Dubey who is the Joint Secretary of Ministry of civil aviation.
These approved sites will be enabled on the Digital Sky Platform now.
After that, all Unique Identification Number holders would be given instant flight permissions online.
What is NPNT?
NPNT is an automated green signal. Without this green signal, drones are not authorised to fly. To handle such automatic flight authorisation, the Digital Sky is currently being developed.
What are those Green Zones?
In the Green Zones for which nod was given,
Uttar Pradesh has the maximum number of eight
Six sites were approved in Jharkhand
Four in Chhattisgarh
Two in Telangana
One in each of Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya, Gujarat; Odisha, Mizoram and Tamil Nadu.
How the permission to fly can be obtained?
RPAS operators or remote pilots will require to file a flight plan in order to get the flying permission. To flying in the ‘green-zones’, intimation of the time and location of the flights will be required through the portal or the app. To fly in the yellow zone, permissions will be required but, no flights will be allowed to fly in the ‘red zones’
What are Drones?
Drones are also called as the Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems. These are a technology platform having a wide-ranging application. India had announced the release of its Civil Aviation Regulations in order to provide safe flying environment to the RPAS in August 2018.
Drones can be proved beneficial for farmers and infrastructure entities such as roads, railways, ports, factories and mines. It will also benefit the sectors such as photography, insurance and entertainment.
The Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal launched the ‘Switch Delhi’ campaign on February 4, 2021.
The campaign was launched to promote the use of electric vehicles.
The Chief Minister further asked the citizens to buy electric vehicles as it will play a key role in combating the pollution in Delhi.
The Chief Minister also highlighted that the state government will hire electric vehicles in six weeks for various purposes.
Kejriwal also appealed the big companies, market association, delivery chains, malls & Cinemas and resident welfare associations to promote the use of electric vehicles.
He further appealed them to set up the charging stations in their respective premises.
About the campaign
The ‘Switch Delhi’ campaign has been launched with the aim to create the awareness regarding the advantages of using electric vehicles.
It will also raise the awareness about how it can help in combating the air pollution in Delhi and making Delhi clean and pollution-free.
Electric Vehicle Policy of Delhi
The Chief Minister highlighted that the electric vehicle policy of the Delhi government is one among the best electric vehicle policies in the world.
Under the policy, the Delhi government has planned to give an extensive subsidy on the purchase of the electric two-wheelers and four-wheelers.
It has also planned to wave off the registration charges and road tax for the electric vehicles.
Government has also issued tenders to set up 100 charging stations in the city.
Government has set target of 25% electric vehicles registration among total vehicle registrations by 2024.
Electric vehicles in Delhi
Ever since the electric vehicle policy was launched, over 6,000 electric vehicles have been sold out.
The Military regime in Myanmar has announced the establishment of a new State Administrative Council.
About State Administrative Council
The administrative council is headed by the Army Chief General Min Aung Hlaing.
It comprises of total 11 members.
Out of the 11 members the eight members are from the military itself.
The General Min Aung Hlaing addressed the meeting of the Union Government.
After the meeting he announced that the election matters and the measures regarding the COVID-19 prevention & containment will be prioritized.
He also announced that the voting frauds will be exposed.
He further announced for the reconstitution of the Union Election Commission so as to implement the duties and functions.
What UN has said?
The consensus statement on the development of Myanmar was out forward by the United Nations security Council after closed consultations.
As per the press release, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General Christine Schraner Burgener have asked the council members to give the full support for the democracy in Myanmar.
Military Rule in Myanmar
The military of Myanmar took the control of the country and a one-year state of emergency was announced on February 1 2021. The State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and other government leaders were also detained. This happened in the backdrop of victory of Suu Kyi’s party in election that was held in November 2020. The military took over the country because it regarded the victory a result of frauds. Following that, the Myanmar Civil Disobedience Movement has been started in opposition to the military’s takeover.
The state emergency was announced because of government was failed in tackling the situation. Despite that, the Suu Kyi’s party won the election. Thus, the military took over in the country as per the Article 417 of the Myanmar’s constitution that gives power to the military to take over in times of emergency. The military had framed the constitution of Myanmar in the year 2008. During that time, thus the military retains power under the charter at the expense of democratic, civilian rule.
The Ministry of AYUSH (MoA) has formulated the Common Yoga Protocol (CYP) training programme recently.
The programme was initiated in the backdrop of the ministry’s effort to enhance the acceptance and adoption of the practice of Yoga in India as well as abroad.
The training programme is the soul of the upcoming international Yoga Day observance.
The protocol facilitates the harmony in the millions of people who join the observation of the International Day of Yoga (IDY).
About Common Yoga Protocol
The common yoga protocol was developed by a team of leading Yoga gurus and experts.
The protocol comprises of the safe practices to improve physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health of the population.
This the most popular Yoga programmes around the globe which is widely performed every year on the occasion of the International Day of Yoga (IDY).
The protocol has been designed in a way so that everyone can easily adopt irrespective of their age and gender.
It can be learnt by a simple training sessions and online classes.
The Common Yoga Protocol is led by the Prime Minister Modi every year on the occasion of IDY.
It is organized by the Ministry of AYUSH (MoA) in collaboration with the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga (MDNIY).
It also organises the Yoga Appreciation Programme (YAP), with the aim of promoting and disseminating the knowledge and practice of Yoga among people.
Objective of Common Yoga Protocol
The Common Yoga Protocol is organised with the objective of:
Spreading knowledge and skill of Yoga among masses.
Increasing mass awareness regarding health benefits of Yoga.
Introducing basic well-being principles and practices to the common people.
Promoting positive health through Yoga.
Propagating Yoga for preventive practices for holistic health.
International Yoga Day
The day is observed on June 21 every year since 2015 after its inception in the UN General Assembly in year 2014.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MOHUA) and Zomato have signed a MoU under the Prime Minister Street Vendor’s AtmaNibhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) Scheme.
Under the MoU, it was decided to onboard the street food vendors on the food-tech platform of Zomato.
This would help the street food vendors to access online the thousands of consumers.
It will also help these vendors to grow their businesses.
What is the plan?
As per the MoU, the MoHUA and Zomato will be running a pilot program initially by on-boarding 300 vendors.
These vendors will be selected from across six cities namely, Patna, Bhopal, Nagpur, Ludhiana, Vadodara and Raipur.
The street vendors will be empowered with the PAN and FSSAI
They will also be given training on technology & partner app usage, menu digitization % pricing and hygiene & packaging.
On October 5, 2020 the MoHUA also signed a MoU with the Swiggy to empower Street Food Vendors with digital technology. It was also signed with the objective of facilitating the greater income earning opportunities to the street-vendors through these food-tech platforms.
PMSVANidhi se Samriddhi Application
The ministry also launched the Mobile Application called “PMSVANidhi se Samriddhi”. The application will do the Socio-economic profiling of PM SVANidhi beneficiaries and their families and help them to link with the Central Government Schemes. The application will assist city officials to collect the door-to-door data.
PM SVANidhi Scheme
This scheme was launched on June 01, 2020. It was launched in order to provide the affordable working capital loan to street vendors. The scheme was launched to help vendors to resume their livelihoods that was affected due to Covid-19 lockdown. It seeks to benefit over 50 lakh Street Vendors. The scheme provides the vendors a collateral free loan of up to Rs. 10,000, of one year.
The redevelopment work of the central vista avenue has started with the Bhoomi Pujan ceremony. Central Vista Avenue is the area surrounding Rajpath. The Bhoomi Pujan was performed by the Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri.
Central Vista Avenue
The Central Vista Avenue starts from North and South Block to India Gate.
It also includes the Rajpath, lawns and canals adjoining the Rajpath, rows of trees, Vijay Chowk and the India Gate plaza.
It is a three-km long stretch.
The Central Vista was designed as a grand processional pathway to the Viceroy’s House in the British India.
The area was retained by the Government of India after independence. Because of safety concerns proposals for new structures started coming to forth after independence. In the line, the landscape of the Central Vista Avenue was altered after Independence. In 1980s, new rows of trees were also added. Further, in order to improve the north-south connectivity a new road Rafi Ahmad Kidwai Marg was constructed.
Central Vista Redevelopment Project
The project is the ongoing redevelopment plan to revamp the Central Vista which is the central administrative area of India located near Raisina hill in New Delhi. The area comprises of the government and parliamentary offices of India. It is called as the “Power Corridor” of India. The project has been started with the objective of improving the infrastructure for the Government of India. The redevelopment plan also comprises of the retrofitting and refurbishing some of the heritage buildings to make them functional and safe for future. It will convert North and South Blocks to publicly accessible museums. A common Central Secretariat will be created to house all ministries. Apart from that, a new Parliament building will also be constructed and its seating capacity will be increased.
History of the Central Vista
The area was designed by Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker at the time of British colonial rule. Its foundation stone was put in the year 1921. In the year 1927 the building was inaugurated by the viceroy Lord Irwin. In the year 1947, it became the seat of new government of India.
Andhra Pradesh has become the second State to implement the power sector reforms that was put forward by the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance.
The state has implemented the one of the three reforms that was bought in 2020.
Under the reform, the state has started the Direct Benefit transfer (DBT) of electricity subsidy to farmers with effect from September, 2020 itself.
After implementing the reform, State is now eligible to mobilise additional financial resources equal to 0.15 percent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).
Andhra Pradesh has also completed One Nation One Ration Card reform, Ease of Doing Business Reforms and Urban Local Bodies Reforms besides the power sector reforms.
Thus, Andhra Pradesh has been granted permission to raise a total additional amount of Rs. 9,190 crores as incentive.
This amount will be used by the state to carry out reforms in the four citizen centric areas.
Before Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh undertook the reforms in the power sector. It was given additional borrowing permission of Rs. 1,423 crores which is equal to 0.15 percent of its GSDP.
About Power Sector Reforms
The Power Sector reforms were stipulated by the Ministry of Finance.
The reforms were put forward with the aim of creating a transparent and hassle-free provision of power subsidy to the farmers.
It also seeks to prevent leakages.
These reforms also aim to improve the health of power distribution companies by lowering their liquidity stress in a sustainable manner.
Guidelines to raise finance
The Department of Expenditure has made guidelines for the States who are undertaking reforms in power sector. As per the guidelines, the states can raise additional financial resources of up to 0.25 percent of the GSDP.
The government of India has enhanced the borrowing limit of the States by 2 percent of the GSDP in the backdrop of the challenges faced by the states amid the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020. Further, the states were allowed to raise additional fund amounting to 0.25% of GSDP. For that purpose, four citizen centric areas were identified for reforms namely, Ease of doing business reform, Implementation of One Nation One Ration Card System, (Urban Local body or utility reforms and Power Sector reforms.
The 1st meeting of the Joint Working Group between India and Kingdom of Bahrain in the field of Renewable Energy held virtually on February 4, 2021.
The Bahraini delegation was held by H.E. Dr. Abdul Hussain bin Ali Mirza who is the President of Sustainable Energy Authority.
E. Mr. Dinesh Dayanand Jagdale the Joint Secretary of the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy led the Indian delegation.
The meeting was also attended by the H.E. Sh. Piyush Srivastava who is the Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Agenda of the meeting
In the meeting, both sides underscored the importance of renewable energy in order to meet climate change goals.
They also discussed the initiatives that the government has taken, progress that have been made and the future targets which are set by their respective governments.
They also presented their views on the opportunities available in this sector.
Both the sides decided upon sharing the experience, expertise and best practices with each other.
They further agreed to forge the deeper engagement in capacity building.
They also agreed to forge the focused cooperation between concerned agencies and the private sector of engaged in the renewable energy sector in both the nations
In the month of July, 2018, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between India and Bahrain. The MoU was signed in order to promote the bilateral cooperation in Renewable Energy.
India – Bahrain Relation
Both the countries share an excellent bilateral relation. The relation is characterized by the cordial political, economic and cultural aspects. The bilateral Trade and commercial exchanges between both the countries dates back to 5,000 years ago. The origin of the trade relation can be traced back to period of Dilmun Civilization in Bahrain to the Indus valley civilization era in India. Bahrain is home to around 350,000 Indian nationals that account for one third of the total population in Bahrain. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Bahrain in August 2019. This was the first ever visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Bahrain. Both the countries signed the 2 MOUs in the fields of Space, International Solar Alliance and the RuPay Card.
Pakistan successfully test-fired its nuclear-capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile called Ghaznavi. The missile was test fired on February 3, 2021.
The ballistic missile has a striking capability of up to 290 kilometres.
The Ghaznavi missile was launched to mark the culmination of Annual Field Training Exercise of Army Strategic Forces Command.
The ballistic missile Ghaznavi can deliver the nuclear and conventional warheads up to a range of 290 kilometres.
The missile has been tested for both day and night modes.
Pakistan has also test-fired the nuclear-capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile Shaheen-III on January 20, 2021. This missile has the range of up to 2,750 kilometres.
About Ghaznavi Missile
It is a surface-to-surface short range ballistic missile.
The missile has been designed and developed by the National Development Complex.
The missile has the range of 290 km.
The missile has been named after the 11th century Muslim Turkic conqueror Mahmud of Ghazni.
The missile commissioned into service with the Pakistan Army in the year 2012.
It entered into service after a successful launch by Army Strategic Command Force in 2012.
It has a length of 9.64m and 0.99 m is the diameter of the missile.
The launch weight of the missile is 5256 kg. this missile is powered by a single stage solid fuel rocket motor.
The design is the missile is influenced from a Chinese design called M-11.
National Defence Complex (NDC)
It is also known as the National Development Complex. NDC is a Pakistani state-owned defence and aerospace contractor. The complex is based in Fateh Jang, Rawalpindi in Pakistan. It was Founded in the year 1990.
Recently, the launch vehicle Stardust 1.0 was launched from a former military base in US called Loring Commerce Centre.
Significance of the Launch
The launch of the vehicle is significant in the light that this is the 1st commercial space launch that is powered by biofuel.
Launching the Stardust 1.0 is also significant for Maine because, it is the first commercial rocket launch for the state.
About Stardust 1.0
The launch vehicle Stardust 1.0 is suitable for student and budget payloads.
It is 20 feet in height and approximately 250 kg in weight.
The launch vehicle can carry a maximum payload mass of 8 kg.
In its first launch, the rocket carried three payloads including,
A metal alloy which is designed to lessen vibrations,
A CubeSat prototype which was built by high school students, and
A CubeSat that was procured from software company Rocket Insights.
The launch vehicle will be used to launch the small satellites called CubeSats into space. The satellite will be launched in less toxic and relatively cheaper manner as opposed to the traditional rocket fuel
The Stardust rocket launch vehicle has been manufactured by bluShift.
It is an aerospace company based in Maine, US. This company is involved in developing the rockets powered by bio-derived fuels.
Blushift was manufacturing the Stardust 1.0 launch vehicle since 2014.
The company is also developing other rockets such as Stardust Gen. 2, Starless Rouge, and Red Dwarf.
Fuel produced through the contemporary processes from biomass which can directly be converted into liquid fuels. It is not produced by the usual slow geological processes of formation of fossil fuels like oil.
The state is situated in the New England region of North-eastern United States (US) having its capital city Augusta. It is bordered by New Hampshire in the west, Atlantic Ocean in the southeast and Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec respectively in the northeast and northwest. The state is the 12th-smallest by area. The most populous city of the state is Portland.